October 2nd, 2010
12:50 PM ET

Sheriff: Body of American shot by Mexico pirates still missing

Days after an American man was fatally shot by pirates on a lake that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, his body still has not been found, a sheriff told CNN on Saturday.

Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr. of Zapata County, Texas, said U.S. authorities have not made much progress because the incident happened on the Mexican side of Lake Falcon.

“The body was not recovered” by U.S. authorities and is presumably still in the lake, Gonzalez said.

“We’ve been in touch with Mexico authorities but they say they don’t know anything about a body,” Gonzalez said.

Texas Rangers and Texas Parks and Wildlife reconnaissance teams have joined local and state authorities in searching for the body, according to CNN affiliate KSAT in San Antonio, Texas.

The man believed to be fatally shot is David Hartley, 30, according to KSAT. His wife, Tiffany, tried to rescue him but had to flee under fire, KSAT reported.

Tiffany Hartley told law enforcement authorities that the couple were riding personal watercraft in the lake Thursday afternoon when four boats of gunmen approached them and started shooting, according to CNN affiliate KGNS in Laredo, Texas.

"This  couple ventured into these waters deep into Mexico," Gonzalez said. "This gentleman was hit in the back of the head with a bullet.

"The woman was able to escape them," Gonzalez said, by "accelerating as fast as she could." He said the lake is safe on the American side, “just don’t cross into Mexico."

The part of the lake where the incident occurred is technically in the municipality of Guerrero, a city in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, Gonzalez said. The state has made headlines recently as a hotbed for drug cartel violence.

Gonzalez said that while nothing about the suspects is known, he strongly believes they are pirates linked to drug cartels across the border.

“We have no suspects. None. But the descriptions [of the suspects] would be drug cartel members or the gofers of the drug cartels,” he said.

Gonzalez said this is not the first time there has been trouble on the lake.

“We had some problems in April and May,” he said. “It’s a very, very popular lake for bass-fishing, and what was happening was some people were being robbed.” But this is the first time the incidents have been fatal, he said.

Zapatas County, Texas, is about 50 miles from the Mexican border.

Gonzalez, who was born and raised in Texas, said, "People in this country who don’t live around the border don’t know what’s really going on here."

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Filed under: Crime • Drug violence • Mexico • Pirates • Texas
soundoff (198 Responses)
  1. gene

    Hey there "Mexico is a ...." How would America like it if they could not get the drugs they demand everyday? What would American want more...a bunch of addicts freaking out, robbing and stealing the copper wire from your trailer or a drug war in Mexico? That is the reason 200,000 troops will NEVER do such a thing. Oh, by the way, you are a racist idoit, have a nice life .

    October 2, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |


    October 2, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • pkfops

      Governor's proclamation; "Only whites and african americans will be allowed to own and operate water craft in the state of arizonia".

      October 2, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • DSolomon

      Go back to your MSNBC/Air America/Daily Kos koolaid

      October 4, 2010 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. ang

    There's something fishy about the story,but still, drug cartel excist thanks to people that consume it...they kill because they have the tools to do so...and where do they get such tools from??
    Since last time I checked they get them from HERE!!!

    October 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ray gibbs

    Deadly dilemma: their side, our side–coming our way.

    October 2, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Al

    Way to fake your own death. The story is just a bit fishy to me.

    October 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miss J

      I was thinking the same thing. Was the water on the US side of the lake not as good as the water on the Mexican side? Plus there's no body. I immediately thought why would someone take such a stupid chance with their lives and cross over the border.

      October 2, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brianc

    Legalize drugs? You're obviously high on drugs right now! More drugs = having to hire more cops, paramedics. Having to open more rehab centers, alot more hospital e.r. Stays for overdoses. Thanks for the suggestion, but my tax dollars pay for enough of the filth on drugs....

    October 2, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Davidson

      oh ya,did that in Amsterdam now they're trying to repeal it. Seems that hundreds of teens from all over Europe started crashing there many with needles in their arms in back alleys and such yep ,good idea gonna start in ol San Fran.

      October 2, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mr. Davidson

    Lets just call them Pirates of the Carribean because as far as yo bama as his clan are concerned it's just another fairy tale. See drugs are good ,they keep stupid Americans even stupider than they already are which contributes significantly to the governments ability to freely steal from the taxpayers, holding illegal invasions of other nations ,not Mexico mind you.

    October 2, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Grog

    So if I mug somebody while I'm standing in a puddle does that make me a pirate?

    October 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Skeptic

    I haven't read through all of the comments, but it seems to me that there's something fishy about this.
    This couple crosses over to the Mexican side of the lake (which is known to have "pirates"), her husband is shot in the back of the head which causes him to fall out of the boat (I'm assuming he was driving), then the woman manages to take the wheel and make it back to shore unscathed. I'm quite sure that the pirates all have automatic weapons. This just seems wrong to me. Does anybody here think that maybe, just maybe, the wife killed the husband (either on the boat or elsewhere) for the insurance money and then dumped the body (either in the lake or elsewhere) and then concocted this story?

    October 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • IMHO

      Read the story again - more carefully this time. The couple were riding two separate PWCs (Personal Watercraft, ie: Sea-Doo Waverunner, JetSki, etc.) Remember the old carpenter's axiom: "Measure twice. Cut once.?" Well, before posting on a Reader's Forum, "Read Twice. Post once." You'd look a lot less foolish.

      October 2, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stella

      I think Skeptic is right, whether he got a detail wrong or not. This woman's story is just crazy. Four gunboats and she escaped on a jet ski? Husband shot in the back of the head once, when there was supposedly a hail of automatic gunfire? No other bullets in him, on her or on the watercraft? Holy cow. There re so many holes in her story it isn't funny.

      October 2, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skeptic

      Yeah, my bad. It annoys me when people don't read either, so my apology for that.
      However, this doesn't change my opinion on the matter.
      The facts you corrected me on don't make any difference in terms of my point.
      I think she killed her husband and then made the story up.
      I hope they've swabbed her hands, arms, and life jacket for powder burns.
      It's really hard to avoid getting gun powder residue on you when you fire a gun, even if you can't see it with the naked eye. However, if the cops are buying her story, they may not have done that yet.
      This evidence doesn't last forever either, so if they haven't done so...the clock's-a-tickin'.

      October 2, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. montdem

    """Gonzalez, who was born and raised in Texas, said, "People in this country who don’t live around the border don’t know what’s really going on here."""

    Uh, duh, I live near the Canadian border and I am quite aware of the dangers down there. How could they be so "uncareful"?

    October 2, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • tct

      You know what's reported, NOT what's going on down here. Next you'll claim to know what it's like to be paraplegic because you read about someone breaking their back.

      October 2, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RBN

    @TED – Senate Bill SB-2099 is an internet hoax you moron. You clearly have internet access – try using it to do some research instead of forwarding misinformation.

    October 2, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ay yi yi

      Great. You just had to tell him, didn't you?

      Just as he was about to put one of his precious guns to his temple.

      October 2, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lee Oates

    Hire back Rick Sanchez.

    October 2, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • ay yi yi

      Hire his cousin.........................Dirty.

      October 2, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      @Lee Oates

      They can make him CNN's special correspondent for Hawaii

      Just sayin'

      October 2, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Big_D

    It is time for some military training exercises. Live fire boarder enforcement seems logical in this situation. I am for reasonable immigration reform but this has nothing to do with that. This is territorial danger and I don’t tolerate that.

    October 2, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Yahoo

    Riding personal watercraft! Couldn't they have taken their watercraft to waters near Somalia for safer recreational venue?

    October 2, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Howard

    Wow, reading some of these comments devoid of human compassion. Really sad state of affairs. YES these people should have know better venturing anywhere near Mexico which has spiraled into a land of Lawlessness and anarchy. But the man was shot in the back of the head right in front of his wife who barely escaped and most likely the perpetrators will never be caught or prosecuted.. A little human compassion for your fellow man who died at just 30 years old is all I'm saying..

    October 2, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kate


      the man was shot in the back of the head right in front of his wife

      Yes, I think that might be the problem ...

      Just sayin'

      October 2, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
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